Let’s pretend we want to cut through the propaganda and learn more about a subject. Where do we turn?
Let’s look at the issue of the Holodomor. If we are uncritical thinkers who are too lazy to look into the matter we can simply do a quick Wikipedia search, accept whatever is presented uncritically, and then feel merited in regurgitating the usual anti-communist propaganda that “Stalin killed 100 million people,” etc. If we are especially stupid we can go to Alexander Finnegan’s page and virtue signal about how disgusted we are with him, how deplorable he is for supporting a bloody, paranoid dictator, and how “free market and capitalism have lifted more people out of poverty than any other system.”
But let’s assume we want to take a break from our stupidity for one day. Then what?
First thing we can do is check out the Wikipedia page. It states that the Holodomor was a “man made famine” that was a “genocide.” Really? Those are some pretty serious accusations. Let’s check out the citations. Citation 13 takes us to a webpage that looks like the spooky entrance to a gaming website. The website was created by the “Ukrainian Research Institute.” I wonder who is behind this? After some digging I find that it was founded through the efforts of a professor who also happens to be a Ukrainian nationalist. This immediately reminds me to be attentive to potential bias. Ukrainian nationalism has a long history of Russophobia and anti-communism.
However, not all hope is lost. Reading further down the article there is a brief mention that there is the possibility that Joseph Stalin did not deliberately cause the Holodomor. One of the papers in support of this cited is by Mark Tauger, which I download and read. It is an academic paper that shows a highly detailed analysis. Now we are getting somewhere. There is also a paper by J. Arch Getty which absolves Stalin of deliberate guilt but basically states that the famine was caused by gross incompetence. This is something I decide to look into later.
So far I am relying on other people telling me what happened. Maybe I can find some primary sources in English? So I find a link which has some documents from the Soviet archives translated into English.
One of them is a letter by Stalin, expressing his frustration with the kulaks for intentionally sabotaging the harvest, causing the famine:
Stalin put enormous effort into ensuring the harvest succeeded because his plans for industrialization depended upon the success of collectivization.
This is a letter written by Stalin translated into English:
Letter from Stalin to Mikhail Sholokhov, May 3, I933, on sabotage by the grain growers of the Veshenskii raion
Dear Comrade Sholokhov:
As you already know, all of your letters have been received. The help for which you are asking has been approved. To investigate the matter, I am sending Mr. Shkiriatov to the Veshenskii mion to see you. I earnestly request you to render him assistance. So that’s that. But not all, Comrade Sholokhov. The problem is that your letters create a somewhat one-sided impression. I would like to write you a few words about that. I am thankful to you for your letters, as they reveal the open sores in party and Soviet work; they reveal how our officials, in their ardent desire to restrain the enemy, sometimes inadvertently beat up their friends and sink to the point of sadism.
But this does not mean, that I completely agree with you on everything. You see one side of the situation, and you do not see it too badly. But this is only one side of the matter. In order not to make political mistakes (your letters are not fiction, but outright politics), you must observe widely; you must be able to see things from both sides. The other side is that the esteemed grain growers of your region (and not only from your region) have conducted a “sit-down strike” (sabotage!) and were not against leaving workers and the Red Army without bread. The fact that this sabotage was peaceful and outwardly harmless (bloodless) does not change the fact that the esteemed grain growers actually carried on a “quiet” war against Soviet authority. A war of starvation, dear Comrade Sholokhov. Of course, this circumstance cannot to any degree justify those terrible acts that were allowed to happen, as you are convinced, by our officials. Those guilty of these terrible acts should be punished accordingly. But it is clear as day that these esteemed grain growers are not as innocent as they appear to be from a distance. Well, so long, shaking your hand
J. Stalin May 5,1933
Another is a resolution passed by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party, November 27, 1932 concerning the harvest and measures to combat sabotage.
I do more online searches for photos of what happened.
Here Soviet workers find kulaks hiding grain. This is consistent with the claims by the local party officials that kulaks were hiding grain and then selling it on the black market even though others were starving.
These collectivization farmers are praising the collectives and asking for the elimination of the kulaks as a class.
These kulaks protest, refusing to share their grain.
So far, based on primary source evidence and photos, the narrative posed by the Ukrainian nationalists seems to fall apart. If I had not done some digging, I would have been stuck.
Later I discover that most of the early history about the Holodomor came from Robert Conquest. So I decide to look into him. Who is he? Turns out he is a British intelligence services agent and paid propagandist:
In 1948 Conquest joined the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD), a “propaganda counter-offensive” unit created by the Labour Attlee government in order to “collect and summarize reliable information about Soviet and communist misdoings, to disseminate it to friendly journalists, politicians, and trade unionists, and to support, financially and otherwise, anticommunist publications.” The IRD was also engaged in manipulating public opinion.
WTF! So this is the guy the “reputable academics” in the West use as their primary source for why the Holodomor was a genocide?
And it doesn’t end there. Modern authors like Simon Sebag Montefiore and Stephen Kotkin do the same thing. Look at the citations of their books and they either don’t have them or they cite each other in a kind of self-referential loop untethered from reality. Any time you question it then you are a “Stalin apologist,” so nobody considers it worth the effort.
“The CIA believed that Ukrainian nationalism could be used as an efficient cold war weapon.While the Ukrainian nationalists provided Washington with valuable information about its Cold War rivals, the CIA in return was placing the nationalist veterans into positions of influence and authority, helping them to create semi-academic institutions or academic positions in existing universities.
By using these formal and informal academic networks, the Ukrainian nationalists had been disseminating anti-Russian propaganda, creating myths and re-writing history at the same time whitewashing the wartime crimes of OUN-UPA.
“In 1987 the film “Harvest of Despair” was made. It was the beginning of the ‘Holodomor’ movement. The film was entirely funded by Ukrainian nationalists, mainly in Canada. A Canadian scholar, Douglas Tottle(1), exposed the fact that the film took photographs from the 1921-22 ‘Volga famine’ and used them to illustrate the 1932-33 famine. Tottle later wrote a book, ‘Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard,‘ about the phony ‘Holodomor’ issue,” Professor Furr elaborated. “
The Holodomor Hoax: Joseph Stalin’s Crime That Never Took Place
“In the last 15 years or so an enormous amount of new material on Stalin … has become available from Russian archives. I should make clear that as a historian I have a strong orientation to telling the truth about the past, no matter how uncomfortable or unpalatable the conclusions may be. … I don’t think there is a dilemma: you just tell the truth as you see it.
(“Stalin’s Wars”, FPM February 12, 2007. At Geoffrey Roberts: Interviewed about Joseph Stalin, Warlord )
The common or “mainstream” view of Stalin as a bloodthirsty tyrant is a product of two sources: Trotsky’s writings of the 1930s and Nikita Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” to the XX Party Congress in February, 1956. This canonical history of the Stalin period – the version we have all learned — is completely false. We can see this now thanks mainly to two sets of archival discoveries: the gradual publication of thousands of archival documents from formerly secret Soviet archives since the end of the USSR in 1991; and the opening of the Leon Trotsky Archive at Harvard in 1980 and, secondarily, of the Trotsky Archive at the Hoover Institution (Furr).
The Hoover Institution keeps playing a role in much of this “research.” Who are they? Turns out the main donors to the Hoover Institution were associated with Polish and Ukrainian nationals. The Scairfe Foundation is dedicated to supporting conservative and libertarian causes, including anti-communist causes. Guess who also funded Nicholas Werth, the rabid anti-communist and author of “Cannibal Island?” The Hoover Institute. Werth is also one of the co-authors of the debunked “Black Book of Communism,” which its own co-authors admitted the “100 million killed by communism” claim was bullshit.
Werth and Margolin felt Courtois was “obsessed” with arriving at a total of 100 million killed which resulted in “sloppy and biased scholarship”
So even co-authors Werth and Margolin were uncomfortable with the primary author, Courtois’s obsession with reaching “100 million killed by communism.”
Don’t take my word for it. Start checking things. Go down the rabbit hole. Your mind will explode. Try it with everything you have learned in history. You are going to be very busy.